The former cellmate of a Colville man accused in a videotaped shootout with police has offered to testify against him - if authorities agree to let him out of jail.
Cameron Hawkins, who is being held in the Greene County Jail, offered the deal in a letter dated last week. Hawkins was previously a cellmate of Chevie Kehoe, one of two men charged in a Feb. 15 shootout with police near Wilmington.
“I’ll tell you information from Chevie Kehoe’s mouth about the two shootings,” Hawkins wrote to Greene County Common Pleas Judge M. David Reid. The judge declined to comment on the letter Tuesday.
Hawkins, of Xenia, is charged with attempted murder and aggravated robbery in the shooting of a shopping mall security guard in June. He shared a cell with Kehoe for a short time last month.
Kehoe is being held on a $20 million bond in the Wilmington shootout. The shooting was caught on videotape by a cruiser’s dashboard camera and later broadcast around the country.
Meanwhile, the letter has put Dayton attorney Earl Moore in a quandary: He already represents Hawkins, and Kehoe wants him to take his case.
“I’ll probably have to drop both of them now,” Moore said.
Moore said Hawkins did not consult him before sending the letter to Reid.
On Monday, lawyers in the Kehoe case met with Clinton County Common Pleas Judge William McCracken to discuss possible conflict-of-interest questions raised by Hawkins’ letter.
“I won’t say who raised the issue, but it was discussed,” said assistant Clinton County prosecutor Rick Moyer.
In the letter, Hawkins hints that he has information that would help convict Kehoe but provides no specifics.
“I’ll testify if need be, but I could get more info (sic) if you moved me back in there, I can ask him anything and he’ll tell me,” he wrote.
Testimony from cellmates of defendants, while sometimes dubious, is often used in criminal trials, legal experts say.
“Whether it’s believed or not is to be decided on an individual basis, as you would do with anyone else’s testimony,” said Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Crush, who is not involved in either case. “You have to live with the witnesses you find and judge their credibility individually.”
Kehoe, 24, and his brother Cheyne, 21, also of Colville, are accused of shooting at officers after they were stopped near Wilmington. No officers were injured.
Cheyne Kehoe, in custody in Washington, is fighting extradition.
Authorities said Chevie Kehoe resisted a patdown search, then ran to his vehicle as he was pursued by a state trooper and a deputy sheriff. As he got into the Suburban and drove away, passenger Cheyne Kehoe allegedly fired several rounds at the officers with a semiautomatic handgun and fled on foot.
Chevie Kehoe allegedly fired on a Wilmington police cruiser several minutes later.
The Kehoe brothers reportedly share interests in firearms, survivalist activities and anti-government and militia philosophies.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.